This is a variation of our non-refried beans base recipe. Do you love refried beans? We do too, but we don’t love that they’re usually packed with lard and salt. With this smashed pinto beans recipe, you don’t have to sacrifice delicious flavor or texture! Loaded with veggies and spices, these (not) refried pinto beans taste just as good as refried beans, but offer way more nutrition. Plus, they come together in minutes for an easy, budget-friendly, and plant-forward snack or side!
Three Must Know Cooking Skills
For recipe success, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for Refried Pinto Beans from Scratch
When making refried beans from canned pinto beans, we recommend low-sodium beans so that you can control the salt to your taste. If you don’t have low-sodium canned beans, drain and rinse your beans to remove excess salt.
You can also use beans that have been cooked from dried. Use our stovetop dried beans base recipe or Instant Pot dried beans base recipe as a guide.
The flavor of the “refried beans” is dependent on the salsa, so buy one that you enjoy and is appropriately mild or spicy for your taste.
When heating the beans with the salsa, be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
If you want to make creamy refried beans, use an immersion blender or a regular stand blender. Be careful of splashes with the hot mixture!
Don’t want to turn the stovetop on? No problem! Place the beans and salsa in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each. Heat through and mash to desired consistency.
Although warm beans mash and blend easier, if you prefer a cold dip or spread and want to save time, feel free to skip the heating step and simply blend. (Cold beans won’t mash effectively.)
This is a great recipe for kids to help make. They love mashing and mixing!
- Pinto Beans: substitute black beans or use a combination. Other beans will still work, but we think that black and pinto beans have the best flavor and texture.
- Chipotle Salsa: substitute any salsa you like! Fire roasted salsa is another of our favorites.
Feel free to add your own spices. Cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, Mexican oregano, onion powder, or paprika would all be great additions.
Chipotle salsa tends to be on the spicier side, but if you want to make extra spicy refried beans (without the refry), add a pinch of crushed red pepper, a dash of cayenne, or your favorite hot sauce to taste.
We love buying our spices from The Spice House. Click on the picture below to view & try out hundreds of flavorful spices and herbs!
Need some recipe inspiration?
Use our non-refried beans base recipe as a guide or try out these other variations!
Equipment Recommendations for this Easy Pinto Bean Recipe
Use a potato masher or ground meat masher to mash the beans. For smoother beans, use an immersion blender or stand blender.
Health Benefits of Refried Beans without the Refry
Because non-refried beans don’t have any added lard, this is a very healthy plant-forward recipe! Both beans and salsa are packed with nutrients that promote health.
Beans of all varieties contain plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients promote gut health, decrease risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and promote a healthy weight. All of the world’s longest lived populations consume beans daily.
The main ingredient in salsa is tomatoes. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a phytochemical that helps protect against heart disease and prostate cancer. (1, 2) Canned and/or cooked tomatoes are higher in lycopene than their fresh counterparts. (3)
What to Serve with Smashed Pinto Beans and Salsa
Serve these faux refried beans on our baked tostadas. Use our base recipe as a guide then adjust flavors to your taste, or make any of our delicious variations!
Smashed pinto beans are also a great substitute for refried beans on tacos and wraps.
For an easy healthy snack, serve vegan non-refried beans as a dip for veggies, tortilla chips, or whole wheat crackers!
Refried Pinto Beans Storage Tips
Allow leftover beans to cool, then store in an airtight container for up to one week. Leftover beans also keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If using the spread for tostadas, store baked tostada shells and beans separately; otherwise, the tortilla will get soggy!
Want more healthy bean-based recipes?
Try out these favorites!
Smashed Pinto Beans
- 15-ounce can low-sodium pinto beans, drained (~1 ½ cups)
- ½ cup chipotle flavored salsa
- Place drained beans and salsa in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer and beans are heated through, stirring occasionally.
- Turn off heat and use a fork or potato masher to mash beans to almost the consistency of refried beans. For a smoother texture, blend. Enjoy!